Tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial lung infection, is a global pandemic that affects around nine million people per year. It has persisted despite the availability of the bacille Calmette-GuÃ©rin (BCG) vaccine, which has variable efficacy and fails to induce complete immunity in the majority of people.
Researchers from Tulane University, New Orleans, found an aerosolised vaccine using a modified TB mycobacterium that does not cause disease led to a comprehensive immune response within the lungs of macaques.
The modified mycobacterium, which does not express a gene involved in antioxidant stress response, was also significantly more effective than an aerosolised BCG vaccine at protecting against a TB infection challenge.
The researchers, writing in Nature Communications (online, 13 October 2015)
, say the findings indicate that the modified mycobacterium could be developed as a novel vaccine candidate.